So I was scanning Telesur’s website the other day and a pretty interesting story caught my eye. It said that Bolivia had begun exporting 10 tons of lithium to China as the start of what the country hopes will flourish into a multimillion-dollar partnership in the near future.
The reason why this is such a big deal and I’m talking about it with you all is because lithium is an integral component of most of our cell phones and electric car batteries, and estimates vary over the size of Bolivia’s deposits, with the article saying that the government says it holds 70% of the global total, while the US retorts that this is just about 7%, or 10x less. Regardless of what the actual number really is, the fact that China – the factory of the world – is able to diversify its imports of this rare earth mineral strengthens Beijing’s supply strain security with this strategic commodity, and it also pairs well with the billion-dollar coltan investment that it made in the Congo a few months back and which I also covered at the time on Context Countdown. Taken together, China is positioning itself for dominance in the cell phone and electric car industries, which will make it a future leader in these industries.